•Alleges cover up, negligence in the North
The rights group, Intersociety has alleged a clandestine attempt to cover up the number of people that might have died as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in different states in the northern part of Nigeria.
In a detailed statement on Sunday signed by the Board Chairman of Intersociety, Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi, not less than 2,500 people may have died from the pandemic in the last 23 days especially in Kano, Jigawa, Yobe and Bauchi States.
“Falsehoods and cover-ups have deadly bounced back on their perpetrators in Northern Nigerian political offices and have been so perpetrated that they have caused the preventable and untimely death of estimated 2000-2500 citizens in 23 days or since 17th and 18th April 2020 when the deaths started in Kano and later spread to Jigawa, Yobe and Bauchi States,” the statement read.
Read the full statement:
COVID-19: Falsehoods & Cover-Ups Have Bounced Back On Their Perpetrators In Northern Nigeria
…2000-2500 may have died in 23 days in Kano, Jigawa, Yobe and Bauchi States
…Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje ought to have discontinued as Kano Gov
…Cross River and Kogi Govs must be called to order and their States put on the watch list
Sunday, 10th May 2020, Intersociety, Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria: Falsehoods and cover-ups have deadly bounced back on their perpetrators in Northern Nigerian political offices and have been so perpetrated that they have caused the preventable and untimely death of estimated 2000-2500 citizens in 23 days or since 17th and 18th April 2020 when the deaths started in Kano and later spread to Jigawa, Yobe and Bauchi States. These numbers may likely to be higher if credibly investigated. As we speak, more citizens are dying and Government of Kano and those of Jigawa, Yobe and Bauchi are busy hiding or mangling figures or misrepresenting same. These are aided by crude religiosity or religious brainwashing, mass illiteracy and poverty. The most saddening was the sealed lips kept by the Government of Kano and those of Yobe, Jigawa and Bauchi States concerning the accurate number of those that died’ all done with intents to misinform and mislead the citizenry and international watchers.
In Kano, a State that recorded its first COVID-19 on 11th April 2020 and harvest of deaths since 17th and 18th April 2020; it is credibly and independently estimated that 1,500-2000 citizens may have died in the past 23 days. In Jigawa, Yobe and Bauchi States, it is independently estimated that not few than 500 deaths have occurred barely a week after 17th and 18th April 2020 when the harvest of deaths hit Kano. In other words, the largely COVID-19 deaths and COVID-19 related deaths have affected Northwest and Northeast regions of Nigeria. Kano shares boundaries with the three States; with Kano and Jigawa (formerly one State) in the Northwest and Bauchi and Yobe in the Northeast. Kano is also home to largest Igbo population in Northern Nigeria where independent estimates have put the total number of Igbo deaths since then to between 50 and 100.
Falsehoods & Cover-Ups Have Wrecked Havocs In Nigeria
Falsehoods and cover-ups, parented by immorality, resulting in lying and dishonesty have wrecked havocs in Nigeria or any part thereof particularly in the country’s political and other public offices. They have also become institutionalized and promoted to ‘sainthood’ particularly since mid 2015 when the Presidency of Retired Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari and Prof Yemi Osinbajo became the country’s sixth civilian Presidency. Sadly, the two key figures heading the country’s top Administration are regarded in their Muslim and Christian religions as ‘devoted or honest Muslim/Christian’.
In Christianity, lying is so sinful that its perpetrator is earthly condemned and treated as ‘immoralist’ who, if he or she does not repent, will end up in Hellfire. In Islam, lying is strongly condemned by Prophet Muhammed who further said that ‘Angels cursed liars’ and they must end up in Hellfire. Prophet Muhammed abhorred lying and exhibited honesty during his own time to the extent that he was referred as ‘Al-Amin’ or The Honest. The Prophet further said: “you must be truthful, for truthfulness leads to righteousness and righteousness leads to Paradise. A man will keep speaking the truth and striving to speak the truth until he will be recorded with Allah as a siddeeq (speaker of the truth)”.
In law and constitutionalism, biblical, Koranic and court affidavit oaths and codified others including ‘public officers’ oaths of office and allegiance’, court litigations and human rights provisions are all measures put in place to ward off and criminalize lying, falsehood and dishonesty. But in practice in Nigeria particularly in the country’s LGA, State and Federal political and other public offices, lying or falsehood and cover-up have been institutionalized. Government has also introduced ‘censorship’ for purpose of codifying falsehoods and cover-ups and checkmating those who dare to question or kick or speak out against them.
Lying under oath in law is an offense of perjuryattracting about fourteen years’ prison term or punishment. The elective political office title of “Excellency” is expressly derived from honesty and impeccability of Character. But in practice, morality and honesty seem to have totally eluded the country’s political space; to the extent that the greatest liars in public offices now go with the title of ‘Their Excellencies’.
Cover-Ups Trailed The Number Of Kano Deaths & Those Of Jigawa, Yobe & Bauchi
The mass deaths in Kano and their spillover in Jigawa, Yobe and Bauchi States would have been prevented or reduced to the barest minimum had Gov Abdullahi Ganduje Administration lived up to its moral and constitutional duties or responsibilities by opening up during their early warning stage and represented facts as they were and ought to be. This is more so when the Governor holds a doctorate degree in Public Administration. From several social media and some mainstream media reports, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and his Administration were aware when the death toll started taking a torrential toll or dimension but kept mute, thereby covering up and falsifying same.
The deaths had started in the State’s eight urban local government areas on 17thand 18th April and days after swept across most of the remaining 36 Local Government Areas (LGAs); killing multiple hundreds within seven days. From there the following week, the deaths spread like wildfire into Jigawa, Yobe; and Bauchi States. The Kano deaths have also taken the lives of not less than 50 prominent citizens of the State in 23 days including seven renowned professors, traditional rulers, captains of industry, top media practitioners, retired top civil servants, retired and serving senior security personnel, etc. The Igbo areas in the State are left out.
Apart from the deaths being visited with Government consistent denials, their records were also mangled and falsified. High level of misinformation and misleading Government statements further trailed the deaths. The Kano State Government had started by denying the existence of the deaths and when the bubble busted, it changed to ‘few deaths have been recorded’ and ‘they were not as a result of COVID-19’, but ‘strange deaths’ arising from ‘meningitis’, ‘lassa fever’, ‘high fever’, ‘high blood pressure, ‘hypertension’, ‘acute malaria’, ‘hepatitis B’, ‘typhoid fever’, ‘cough and catarrh’, etc.
This is even when it is medically settled that there are “COVID-19 deaths” and “COVID-19 related deaths”. In case of latter, if a pneumonia, or asthma, or meningitis, or lassa fever, or high blood pressure, or hypertension, or acute malaria, or hepatitis B, or typhoid fever patient, etc is caught by symptoms of ‘COVID-19’, he or she is most likely to die quickly whereas in the absence of ‘COVID-19’ symptoms in the same person, he or she is likely not to die quickly or instantly. Among the Kano deaths were those unable to meet their doctors or have access to hospitals following total lockdown in the State. The Government of Kano State did not maliciously act alone; the Nigeria’s Center for Disease Control was also a complicit. Going by its name Center for “Disease Control”, it despicably acted in the contrary.
The Estimated 2000-2500 Deaths: The death tolls in Kano started with initial reports of ‘over 150’ reported by Daily Trust Newspaper on 21st April 2020 in eight urban LGAs in the State: Nasarawa, Gwale, Dala, Ungogo, Fagge, Tarauni, Kumbotso and Kano Municipal. The COVID-19 deaths and COVID-19 related deaths had also within a week spread like wildfire into the interior parts of the State including the remaining 36 LGAs, killing multiple hundreds or over 1000; and from 25th April to 9thMay 2020, a period of fourteen days, another multiple hundreds died; bringing the total Kano deaths from 17th and 18th April to 9thMay 2020 to 1,500-2000.
Also in the past ten days, not less than 200 deaths have been recorded in Yobe State. The Daily Post of 6th May 2020 had reported “over 165 deaths” in the State. In Jigawa State, though Vanguard Newspaper reported on 6thMay of “death of over 100 people within ten days”, independent sources put the total to “no fewer than 200”. In Bauchi State, relying on a letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari by Hon Ibrahim Muhammed Baba, former Member representing Katagum Federal Constituency in the House of Reps, “over 100 persons have died” in Azare area of Bauchi State in the last seven days. The letter was dated 8thMay 2020. The petition said the victims died of “COVID-19 complications”. In all, it is likely that the total death tolls that took place in the past two weeks in Yobe, Jigawa and Bauchi States are no fewer than or 2000-2500 in 23 days or since 17th and 18th April 2020.
We Are On The Same Page With Kano Elders
The Kano elders under the aegis of “Kano against COVID-19” have spoken our mind concerning the poor handling of Kano harvest of deaths and COVID-19 by Gov Abdullahi Ganduje and his Administration. The elders involving the prominent citizens like Bashir Tofa, AB Mahmoud, SAN, Prof Auwalu Yadudu, Prof Jibrin Ibrahim, Mrs Maryam Uwais, etc had on Friday, 8th May 2020 ‘expressed concerns over the ongoing fight against COVID-19 in Kano State’. The group further observed that while “some states, like Lagos, had exhibited much greater capability and professionalism in dealing with the crisis, the situation in Kano state has been quite worrisome where Dr Abdullahi Ganduje is the governor”. The group said “It was obvious that there was inadequate preparation at the state level and control measures were ineffective. There was lack of clear messaging to the citizens. Discordant tunes were also coming from some religious and community leaders expressing doubts about the existence of the disease. The lockdown subsequently introduced by the state authorities was not vigorously enforced even after the federal authorities extended the period”.
Dr Abdullahi Ganduje Ought Not To Have Continued As Kano Gov: Gov Abdullahi Ganduje ought to have resigned from office or be removed by impeachment, so as to serve as a warning to others. By Section 13 of the Constitution, “it shall be the duty and responsibility of all organs of Government, and of all authorities and persons, exercising executive, legislative and judicial powers, to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of this Chapter (Fundamental Objectives & Directive Principles of State Policy) of this Constitution”. This, the Gov of Kano State has woefully failed to do, which amounted to “gross misconduct”.
The Governor’s conduct is also a fundamental breach of “Oath of Office of Governor of a State’ as contained in the Constitutional Seventh Schedule. Under the Chapter Two, Sections 15 (5) (abuse of office), 14 (2) (b) (security and welfare), 17 (1) (b) (c) and 18 (3) have been grossly observed in breach; likewise Sections 33 and 34 of the Constitutional Chapter Four. Totality of these is nothing short of gubernatorial ‘gross misconduct’, defined by the Constitutional Section 188 (11) as “a grave violation or breach of this Constitution or a misconduct of such nature as amounts in the opinion of the House of Assembly to be so”.
Govs Ayade & Bello Of Cross River & Kogi States Are Toeing The Ganduje’s Way: The 52 years old Gov Benedict Ayade of Cross River State and the 45 years old Gov Yahaya Bello of Kogi State must be called to order and their States put on the watch list. Apart from the availability in the Constitution of exclusive (federal), concurrent (states and federal shared) and residual (local government) legislative lists, the laws of the country also divide responsibilities, functions and powers among the three tiers and the organs of Government. In making the divisions, ‘seniority and limitation doctrines’ are also attached or clearly laid out. One of such legal provisions is contained in Section 4 (5) of the Constitution (1999); likewise in Section 1 (3).
That is to say that no State Gov has a right to stop a validly established Federal Agency or Ministry from performing its functions anyway in Nigeria. This is more so when the general security and welfare of the citizens are at high risk in the two States. The country’s laws also provide avenues for settlement of disputes between a State and the Federal Government at the country’s Supreme Court which also frown at resort to ‘jungle justice’. It therefore saddens our heart that when a State like Lagos is busy creating testing centers, their equipment and trained personnel, the two Govs of Cross River and Kogi are busy playing politics with the health of their citizens and residents.
Finally, judicial panels are not only mandatorily required in Kano State for purpose of ‘congregating and aggregating’ or ascertaining the actual number of deaths in the State from 17thand 18th April 2020 to date; but also the present political and other public office holders in Nigeria must reverse their immoral and draconian paths and bring an end to official falsehoods and cover-ups in the country. The country’s public office holders must henceforth tell Nigerians and international partners and watchers the true happenings in the country and go step further to admit their failures, apologize and make amends where they have failed.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair, Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law, Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Head, Democracy & Good Governance
Contacts: Phone: +2348174090052, Email: email@example.com, Site: intersociety-ng.org